FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 20, 2023
Contact: Press_Paul@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
Dr. Paul, Chairman Jordan Fight to Protect Americans’ First Amendment Rights Against Government Censorship
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH-04), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee introduced the Free Speech Protection Act that will prohibit federal employees and contractors from using their positions to censor and otherwise attack speech protected by the First Amendment. The bill will impose mandatory severe penalties for those individuals that violate this rule.
The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Eric Schmitt (R-MO), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Mike Braun (R-IN) in the U.S. Senate.
“Americans are free people and we do not take infringements upon our liberties lightly. The time has come for resistance and to reclaim our God-given right to free expression,” said Dr. Paul. “Under my Free Speech Protection Act the government will no longer be able to cloak itself in secrecy to undermine the First Amendment rights of Americans.”
“Censorship is a major threat to freedom today. It is clear that Big Government must be more transparent, and that bureaucrats must be held accountable for censorship. The Free Speech Protection Act accomplishes that and gives individuals remedies for censorship to protect vital First Amendment freedoms,” said Chairman Jim Jordan.
“No other administration in history has threatened Americans’ freedom of speech like the Biden Administration, and we have an obligation to the American people to uphold the fundamental principles of our Constitution. When I was Missouri’s Attorney General, I filed Missouri v. Biden that exposed this censorship, and now I’m proud to join Senator Paul and Representative Jordan in working to dismantle this vast censorship enterprise. This censorship should scare every American – regardless of political affiliation, and government does not get to outsource their censorship to social media companies,” said Sen. Eric Schmitt.
In addition to protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights, the bill would also:
- Mandate frequent publicly accessible reports from the heads of executive branch agencies detailing the communications between an executive branch agency and a content provider, as well as prevent agencies from employing any FOIA exemption to prevent disclosure of prohibited communications.
- Ensure that federal grant money is not received by any entity that seeks to label media organizations as sources of misinformation or disinformation.
- Terminate authorities that threaten free speech and other constitutionally protected rights.
“Recent revelations have exposed the lengths to which the Biden administration continues to take to censor the online speech of Americans who speak out against the Left’s agenda. When federal employees make content moderation requests, the administration is effectively using the coercive power of the federal government to turn Big Tech companies into enforcement arms of their censorship policies. While the courts may eventually rule that this type of behavior is unconstitutional, Congress should codify these prohibitions into federal law by passing legislation like Senator Paul’s to ensure the long-term protection of Americans’ right to free speech online,” said Ryan Walker, Acting Executive Director of Heritage Action.
“The government attempting to control speech online is undermining American free speech rights. NetChoice applauds Sen. Paul for taking this important step to defend the First Amendment from government officials seeking to suppress open dialogue online. We look forward to working with the U.S. Senate to protect Americans and businesses from government interference in their constitutionally-protected speech while not preventing important conversations involving criminal activities,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel.
“The government is prohibited from censoring the speech of citizens but they got caught using private companies to do it on their behalf. We support Sen. Rand Paul for stepping up with legislation to make sure there are penalties when the government tries to outsource an unconstitutional act,” said Jim Hanson, Executive Director of America Matters.
“Senator Rand Paul has introduced legislation that will prohibit the federal government and its employees and contractors from using their government positions, federal power, and federal funds to violate the free speech rights of Americans. Under Senator Paul’s legislation, those who violate this law and the constitutional free speech rights of Americans will suffer severe penalties for their anti-American lawlessness. His legislation also outlaws future attempts to create an actual or de facto “ministry of truth.” Free speech is a foundational building block of a free society and Senator Paul has taken a needed and important step in protecting the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. As he consistently does, Senator Paul has come down on the side of the Constitution and the American people. Anyone who does not support this bill is revealing their anti-Constitution views and their totalitarian instincts,” said George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom.
“Americans for Limited Government supports Senator Rand Paul’s proposed legislation that will that will prohibit federal employees and contractors from using their positions to censor and otherwise attack speech protected by the First Amendment,” said Richard Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government.
Last week, a federal judge issued an injunction restricting the Biden Administration from collaborating with social media companies to censor and suppress constitutionally protected speech. For several months, Dr. Paul has been working on the Free Speech Protection Act which would do just that.
In addition to countless numbers of Americans, Dr. Paul too was targeted by the censorship regime. In 2021, Dr. Paul posted a video on YouTube to educate the public on the potentially harmful consequences of relying on ineffective cloth masks to prevent transmission of COVID-19, YouTube took his video down and suspended his account for a week. Dr. Paul then announced he was quitting the platform and would solely post his content to Rumble.com.
You can read the bill HERE.